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Compare And Contrast Of Beowulf And Sir Gawain And The Green Knight

774 words - 3 pages

Compare and Contrast of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Beowulf is an epic poem that was written in the Anglo-Saxon time period where only a few privileged people were able to read and write while Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which is also an epic poem, was written in the Middle English time period where reading and writing was more wide-spread. While both the epic poem Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight have similar protagonists, the main character of each poem also has different characteristics that make up the unique identities of each, such as Beowulf’s possession of superhuman abilities that Sir Gawain does not possess naturally, the chivalrous code of Sir Gawain and the heroic code that Beowulf lives by, and the different uses of nature in both poems (such as the embodiment of life and death).
The first comparison would be of their physical characteristics. Beowulf is portrayed as the having “...the strength of thirty in the grip of each hand...” (line 380). Beowulf has a superhuman body that is able to withstand even the most wicked of opponents while Sir Gawain possesses a mortal body. For example, Gawain claims, “My body, but for your worth, is barren” (line 357) and takes King Arthur's place in the Christmas game proposed by the Green Knight.

The second comparison would be of their codes of conduct. If you compare the two heroes' ethics, you see that they are different, too. Beowulf appears to have little morals that he lives by. His pride in himself and loyalty to his country are qualities of a hero, but there is not one line in which he shows inner strength from his heart - only his quest to put another 'notch in his belt.’ Sir Gawain never shows signs of arrogance, only selflessness, honesty (for the most part), and his loyalty to the Code of Chivalry. Sir Gawain stays true to his word, and seeks out the Green Knight as promised. He also treats women with respect and is very loyal to his king. Sir Gawain does do one thing that breaks the code of chivalry and that is to look out for his own life instead of dying with honor like Beowulf did. To his credit, Sir Gawain does withstand the advances of a married woman three times. Both men have fights they have...

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